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NVUSD, Yountville reach deal on sale of former school property

Napa Valley Unified School District has agreed to sell a former elementary school site in the heart of Yountville to the town, Town Manager Brad Raulston announced this week.

Yountville Elementary School opened at its Yount Street address in 1976 but was one of several schools closed in 2020 by NapaValley Unified School District due to falling enrollment numbers. The 6.8-acre parcel is currently zone “Public Facilities.” (Photo by Kim Beltran)

Napa Valley Unified School District has agreed to sell a former elementary school site in the heart of Yountville to the town, Town Manager Brad Raulston announced this week.

The Yountville Town Council and the school district board of trustees, in separate meetings next week, will consider approval of an $11 million sales and purchase agreement for the 6.8-acre property.

The entire sales price will be paid by the town using a combination of savings set aside in recent years for this purpose and surplus funding from several reserve accounts.

“The Town has been interested in this property for years and we are excited to be moving forward,” said Yountville Mayor Margie Mohler. “The current market conditions and the Town’s sound financial position make this the ideal time to bring this idea to life. Our entire Town Council agrees this is the highest priority for our community.”   

The Town has had its eye on acquiring the property since it was shuttered in 2020 by the district due to falling enrollment numbers at several of its primary schools.

It is one of the largest undeveloped parcels of land in town.

If both the council and the school board approve the agreement, the sale is expected to close by May 30, although Raulston said it could happen sooner.

In a joint press release from the town and district, NVUSD officials said they planned to use the money from the sale for infrastructure improvements at its other campuses, including new roofing and other repairs.

“We remain committed to providing safe and modern learning environments for our students and staff, while also remaining sound fiscal stewards of our District’s resources,” said NVUSD Superintendent Dr. Rosanna Mucetti. “The majority of our schools were constructed 60 years ago and now require regular upkeep and repair. School Districts do not get adequate state funding for these repairs.”

Among the purchase funding sources is $3.6 million in affordable housing money set aside by the council in the 2021/22 fiscal year, Raulston said.

There is another $3.4 million in the General Fund’s “unassigned fund” balance that will be used, plus $2.9 million in Measure S housing money.

Measure S is a local ordinance that added one percent to the town’s hotel bed tax to be used for affordable or workforce housing. 

Yet another $1.1 million will come from two of the towns many “reserve” accounts, such as the one it has for facilities or for unanticipated drops in revenue.

Some of these details were still being worked out on Wednesday in preparation for publication of the agenda and staff report for Tuesday’s Town Council meeting, said Raulston.

Those documents, plus a finance report on the deal, were scheduled to be posted on the Town’s website Friday morning.  

The Town Manager has laid out a preliminary plan for interim uses of the property and its facilities – uses he hopes will begin before year’s end.

The town will pay about $1.5 million, if the sale goes through, said Raulston, “for initial clean-up and beautification, interim community uses, and a robust public engagement process to determine the long-term future of the site.”

Interim uses could include overflow recreation programming in the school’s multipurpose room, which was built in 2007, or a wellness center in the library building on the campus.

Longterm plans do include using about one-third of the site for affordable and/or workforce housing. The use of Measure S funds makes this mandatory. Other longterm uses are yet to be determined.

The town plans to hold an open house at the site prior to the close of the sale. This gathering will allow residents to learn more about the property acquisition and ask questions about its future, said Raulston.